Why did you decide to travel the world?
We’re excited about exploring the world and taking the time to learn about other cultures and other ways of life, without having to cram it into a 10-day vacation. We’re lucky enough to not have debt and have designed our lives in a way to not have responsibilities. (Yes, we are very fortunate for that.) And we’re also young enough to be able to stay in hostels and be okay with traveling cheaply.
So while we have good health, time, and this opportunity, and while we’re excited about it, we’re doing it.
When did you know it was the right time?
We had been working for a few years when inspiration struck and we decided to do this thang. We had been renting an apartment, had no dogs, and thanks to our bent toward efficiency, really didn’t own too many things. Also, thankfully, and this could have been a potentially big challenge to quitting our jobs, neither of us had loans to pay off. We knew that if we were ever going to take a trip like this, now was the right time. TLDR; it was now or never.
How could you afford it?
Several factors help here, all are essential, and probably in no particular order:
- Neither of us had debt. All cars, student loans, and any other debt had been paid off prior the trip. (Even if you do have debt, it may be possible to still travel LT, but we can’t advise on or against that.)
- We are nimble — and by nimble, I mean young and cheap. We don’t expect to stay at five-stay hotels and do anticipate staying in our fair share of hostels. While we love a set menu every now and then, we are really looking forward to street food and also home-cooked meals (made by others or ourselves). Budget travel is a focal point of our experience.
- We live simply. We like staying in and cooking ourselves. We can be old souls and blast the speaker in our living room and dance the night away. We keep track of our finances and budget. Efficiency and sustainability are key to our core, and they also happen to be the most cost-effective.
Put simply, we saved and didn’t build debt. It helps that we’ve both tracked pretty much every purchase since we’ve started working. Through Mint, all purchases are categorized into large buckets (Transportation, Groceries, Restaurants, Entertainment, Gifts, Personal Care and Travel) and each bucket has a targeted spending amount. Comparing our spending data from month to month has helped us identify areas of potential overspending and cut down on unnecessary expenses.
How much did you budget?
$25,000 per person. Based on what we read, we figured $40,000 for the both of us would fund us for one year. We added some contingency and are crossing our fingers it will fund longer.
What’s your plan for after?
We don’t know. It’s a scary thing to say, but it’s true. We don’t know how long this will actually take. We don’t know if we’ll actually like it (though we have an idea). We don’t know who we’ll meet or what we’ll learn or even where all we’ll go. We aren’t sure what will be most important to us when we choose to return, whether it will be reinserting ourselves into the workforce or being close to family or choosing to have a family of our own. We are open to the possibilities that present themselves when you don’t have a plan.
What will you do? Won’t you get bored?
We’re planning on having some longer stints in places through work exchange programs that will teach us about different ways of life and allow us to contribute. We do not plan to jump from tourist attraction to tourist attraction. There’s enough in this world to be curious about, at least that’s our mindset going in.
What did you do with your stuff?
As the date of our flight fast approached we had to face the question of what do to with all of our things. We had no interest in getting a storage unit in Houston and paying $100+/month to store stuff we might not want in the future in a city we might not come back to. Thankfully, outside of our car, bed and couch, we didn’t own many expensive things. We sold most of our belongings (tables, chairs, picture frames, kitchen equipment, etc.) using various apps. Books we didn’t want to keep were sent to a used book store. Some of Michelle’s clothes were sent to ThredUp. What we didn’t find worth selling either because it was small or inexpensive (like certain kitchen appliances), we offered to friends; and on our last day, we took 3 car loads to Goodwill and multiple bags to the trash. We sold, donated, or disposed of about 75% of our stuff, and now the little we do own is either in our backpacks or in a couple of boxes at our parent’s.
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